Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Why a Redistricting Commission may make things worse

UTA, an un-elected board doesn't work as good as most would like. Do we want another?

Both in 2016 and 2017, Rep. M. Nelson proposed rules (passed the House but not the Senate, yet) that would help solve the problem that happened last time, The redistricting committee had really good rules and goals, but then both political parties threatened law suits and many of the ideals were abandoned. If we could just get one or two specific Republican State Senators to go along, the new rules would likely pass. Those rules and having the elected legislature create the maps would work much better than having an "independent" redistricting commission, where the one independent person gets to decide. 

Even though I was not on the redistricting committee last time, I drew maps for the 2011 redistricting bills and some were officially voted on. My Congressional Map, "Hat and 3 stripes" was the most favored by the committee, prior to the political parties involvement. I even had a similar map Senate Sponsored by Sen. Ben McAdams, the only bi-partisan Congressional District Map. (No, it didn't pass).

The maps I drew to start with had one goal in place. To keep the districts as close to city and county lines as possible, using major roads or other obvious boundaries such as rivers, etc. I had the Congressional District divided with very few county or city boundaries crossed. My Party Chair threatened to sue the state if that map was adopted. I tried to make it fair. I wasn't trying to favor one party over the other, but didn't use any party stats to create it. I had the maps balance to one person. 

If the rules that the committee was trying to follow were placed as legislative rules, it would have avoided the threats of lawsuits for following them. The other side created state house and other maps down to just a few people, while to keep the county and city boundaries as close as possible, the state house and state senate districts needed more of a range, perhaps 2% to 3%. When they started doing that we started losing district boundaries that made sense. They made things worse. Another reason for the rules being adopted differently.

At least for the Utah House map, only one Rep. voted against the final map. 74 to 1. She won in 2012, I lost. It wasn't perfect, and I knew it would be tougher to win, but I voted for it because my area made more sense than other options.

 Remember Rep. Merrill Nelson lost years ago, because he wanted fair redistricting boundaries more than getting elected. I repeated that in 2012. If the State House boundaries were so bad, why did all but one democrat in the House vote for that map?